Senate Ways and Means Chairman Karen Spilka (D-Ashland) said having an accurate early estimate means less chance of having to cut budget items later on if things don't pan out economically.

"There is only a finite amount for each year's budget, and there are an infinite number of needs," Spilka said. "We hear every year all of the advocates, all of our constituents, all of our colleagues about all of the needs and that is what sometimes is heartbreaking that you hear so many needs and because of our finite number of dollars and resources we certainly cannot address all of them."

Having a consensus on revenue keeps the different branches of government, controlled by different parties, on the same page as they formulate a budget for fiscal year 2017, which begins this July.

"Agreeing to an overall consensus revenue number provides stability to the budget process as the budget makes its way from the governor to the House to the Senate," Baker's Administration and Finance Secretary Kristen Lepore told WGBH Friday.

The revenue estimate for fiscal year 2017 is 4.3 percent higher than last year's, meaning the state has roughly $1.12 billion more it can spend. That's good news since an ever-expanding portfolio of expenses could leave the state with a budget deficit around that same amount.

It's not just how much money the state has, equally important is the rate at which it spends it.

The three budget chief's - Lepore, Spilka and House Ways and Means Chairman Brian Dempsey (D-Haverhill) - say we'll have $26.86 billion dollars in state taxes and other revenue to spend on everything from schools, road work, grant programs, health care for the poor and more.

"The 4.3 percent revenue growth shows consistent growth in the state's economy but it is very important that we match that revenue growth with very disciplined and responsible spending growth and we have done that, we did that last year and we will continue to do that in the budget that we file in a couple of weeks," Lepore said.

Dempsey was not available to comment Friday on the revenue number.

There are the less routine budget items the state has been investing more in lately: opiate addiction treatment and prevention, greater resources for child welfare programs - and of course - funds  to keep the MBTA from dissolving.

"The governor has made a commitment to opioids, to fixing the Department of Children and Families, to local aid, to transportation and we will continue those investments going forward," Lepore said.

Baker will file his recommendations for the state budget later this month.